Andrew Mondia: Why is the role of a caregiver so important?

Today, I’d like to share with you a recent interview I had with Carolyn when I got to ask her some questions on the role itself, family involvement and death. I hope you enjoy it.


Andrew Mondia: Why is the role of a caregiver so important?

Carolyn A. Brent:  Being a primary caregiver is a huge responsibility. defines a caregiver as the “person who is primarily responsible for looking after someone’s health, safety and comfort.” When speaking about aging adults, a primary caregiver steps in only when someone cannot fully care for himself or herself. A primary caregiver may be a selected family member, a medical professional in a care facility, or a trained professional living outside the home.

When you choose to providefor an elderly parent in your own home, it is an act of unconditional love and loyalty that money cannot buy. No amount could compensate for the hard work involved in undertaking this responsibility when the care you give a parent is based upon the right motivations. No hired caregiver no matter how well trained, could ever love your parent as much as you do. Your family truly needs to understand the significance of selecting the right caregiver, and the level of dedication that family caregiving demands.

Andrew Mondia: Research time and again shows that women are responsible for most caregiving in the U.S. — and the most challenging aspects of caregiving.  How do you suggest getting other family members more involved?  How they contribute if they aren’t close by?

Carolyn A. Brent: The best case scenario would be “Making Caregiving a Family Affair.” When one sibling is the parent’s primary caregiver, caregiving is accomplished more effectively when it is a team effort.

 Divide up the tasks. If everyone takes on different responsibilities, the Divide up the tasks. If everyone takes on different responsibilities, the workload is lightened. For example, one child could handle medical aspects of care. Another child could handle financial aspects of care. Another could handle grocery shopping and/or meal preparation. When siblings do not live close by and distance is involved, the siblings can get involved by using today’s free technology.  Today’s technology allows: Free Skype calls which allows you to have a face to face conversation with your parents and the caregiver.  Siblings can also keep in touch with free conference calls, letter writing, and take vacation time for the propose to pitching in. The siblings living far away can plan a vacation once a year to care for and visit their parents giving the caregiver neededtime off.   A caregiver would benefit from an occasional outing, a day at a spa, or just hearing a simple “thank you.” It is very important to remind caregivers of how much they are appreciated.  “Make Caregiving a Family Affair.”

Andrew Mondia: Death is a big fear for most people.  Why is it most important to overcome this sensitive topic when dealing with the care and then aftermath of one’s passing?

Carolyn A. Brent:    If the topic is faced head-on and the paper work is in order this would help build the family bond. I call these conversations “crucial” because the outcome matters. When a plan is in place it allows peace and unity for families to work as a team by providing strength and support to one another.  Also, it will help the family reach the “Acceptance Stage” of dealing with a death.

What helped me to understand my emotions and the process was when I read the book by Kübler-Ross, The Five Stages of Grief; Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.

Now I mindfully grieve, and avoid tigers that make me feel sad.  I have chosen and have reached the acceptance stage which keeps my mind at peace.

About Carolyn Brent

Dr. Carolyn A. Brent, is an award-winning bestselling author and a National Physique Committee (NPC) Masters Women's Figure Champion at age 60. She is an expert on both self-care and caregiving; she is the founder of Across All Ages and two nonprofit organizations, CareGiverStory Inc. and Grandpa's Dream. Carolyn's research and extensive collection of published works have made her a notable figure in her field. For seventeen years, she worked for some of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies and has worked as a volunteer at various assisted-living facilities. Her award-winning books include The Caregiver's Companion: Caring for Your Loved One Medically, Financially and Emotionally While Caring for Yourself and The Caregiver's Legal Survival Guide: Navigating through the Legal System.

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